Investors have an opportunity to buy Bellamy’s Australia Ltd (ASX: BAL) at a considerable discount to the price levels from late in 2015.
Indeed, Bellamy’s, a producer of organic infant food and formula, was one of the market’s top-performing shares last year, soaring as much as 900% to a high of $16.50. This was largely due to the soaring sales and earnings reported by the company, together with its improving margins as demand for its products soared in Australia and Asia.
However, investors have become increasingly uncertain about the future of the business, which has seen its share price ravaged. The shares fell more than 14% between Monday and Tuesday last week, hitting a low of just $8.63, although they did regain nearly 23% to close at $10.59 on Friday. That’s still a 35.8% discount compared to their high from December.
Notably, shares of Blackmores Limited (ASX: BKL) and a2 Milk Company Ltd (Australia) (ASX: A2M) have also come under intense pressure. The pair have fallen 3% and 0.3% today, respectively, while they’re both trading between 25% and 30% below their 52-week highs.
The most recent uncertainty facing the three businesses relates to tougher regulations that will be imposed by China for companies selling infant formula in an effort to bolster food safety. All three companies produce infant formula, with enormous growth potential in the world’s second-biggest economy.
Bellamy’s will need to obtain a registration certificate by the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) by 1 January, 2018, meaning it can continue to operate as it has been until that date. Although there are plenty of uncertainties associated with the changes at this point, the company is confident it can meet the requirements and continue to thrive in the country well into the future.
Bellamy’s said: “Bellamy’s has been successfully operating in China for over six years. Bellamy’s has a strong ‘bricks and mortar’ business in China selling the company’s (Guobiao) compliant formula. In addition, our products sold in China via ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses already have labelling in Chinese.”
It added: “With Bellamy’s infant formula and manufacturing facilities already registered in China, we believe we are well placed to transition to the new requirements once they are known.”
Although there are a number of uncertainties facing the business in the near-term, the potential long-term opportunity is still enormous. Indeed, tougher regulations will also make it tougher for competitors to enter the Chinese market, potentially enhancing Bellamy’s market share within the region.
As a reminder, any investment should always be considered in the context of a balanced and diversified portfolio. Although an investment in Bellamy’s today is by no means without risk, and its shares are still not cheap, per se, investors should certainly be watching Bellamy’s shares closely – especially if they do fall any further – as they could still be capable of generating sound returns for long-term investors.